Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tom Tomorrow's Year In Review Part I

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Wild Parrots of the Pacific Northwest

The Mitred conures in Seattle


We've all heard of the wild parrots of San Francisco, made famous by Mark Bittner in his best selling book and Judy Irving's documentary The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Doing some research in The Seattle Times Newspaper archives, I ran across a couple of articles regarding the locally known feral parrots in Seattle's Seward Park. Apparently the Seward Park parrots were established by 1995 beginning with a group of three parrots, with another report in the newspaper as late as 2003. The parrots are even featured on the website of The Friends of Seward Park, which describes their location as the north bluff of Pinoy Hill. The parrots are Mitred conures (Aratinga mitrata). This got me to thinking that it might be of interest to do a census of feral parrots throughout the Pacific Northwest. The Audubon Society does a bird count every year. Maybe a parrot count is in order!

There are at least three known (but not necessarily documented) groups of feral parrots here in Seattle: the Seward Park bunch, and another in the Maple Leaf neighborhood of northeast Seattle (which may or may not be the same parrots), documented just this year as far north as Shoreline, Washington, just north of Seattle. I've also heard of a flock of conures that supposedly escaped from Woodland Park Zoo on Phinney Ridge many years ago. I regularly encounter people who claim to have seen the birds, so I'm pretty confident that they exist.

I'm curious where there might be other flocks of parrots established within the Pacific Northwest. Of course there is the notorious group of Quaker parrots in Yacolt, Washington, near Vancouver and Portland. Quakers are also know as Monk parrots (Myiopsitta monachus).  Currently seventeen (17) individual parrots have been counted. And I understand there is a group of Quakers established on the Oympic Peninsula in Port Orchard, WashingtonI have heard that at least one flock of Quakers in Port Orchard is doing well. There was a fairly large flock with more than twenty (20) individual parrots located on Mitchell Street which apparently was eradicated in the dead of night, probably by a local utility company.

Several flocks of Quakers are established in Oregon. The State of Oregon has determined that Quaker parrots are not an agricultural threat and there are no official eradication efforts in the state. Feral Quaker or Monk parrots were first documented in Oregon in 1977 when one was killed by a dove hunter in North Portland. Also in 1977 a pair escaped from captivity and built a nest on a power pole in southeast Portland. By 1980 a colony of 10 birds could be found at this location, but the nests were abandoned by 1984. About 1980-1981 Monk parrots were reported from several locales in the northeastern and southeastern Portland area and a large stick nest was constructed near Portland International Airport. The colony flourished and several nests were added. Up to 24 birds have been counted at the nest, but it is suspected that these nests are being abandoned. Recently, there have been up to five active Quaker nests counted in Oregon White Oak trees around Portland International Airport. There is also a nest near Scio, built in 2000 on a telephone pole, that at one time contained up to 8 birds, but is believed to be currently abandoned. There have been sporadic sightings of Monk parrots in Deadwood, Hillsboro, Gaston, Oregon City, and even in some northern Oregon coastal regions.

Thanks to Donna Burleigh of S & D Exotic Bird Rescue for the information about Oregon parrots!

 Update May 29, 2009

The Columbia Citizens blog of the Columbia City neighborhood in Seattle recently posted an update about the Seward Park parrots, with photographs of some of the parrots taken May 19th and May 20th. They were sighted in the area of 49th Avenue South and Hudson Street, as well as 43rd Avenue South and Ferdinand Street.

One longtime resident noted: In years past, maybe ten or twelve years ago, we counted fourteen conures at one time. More recently the numbers seem to be dwindling…these days we see three or four maybe in our neck of the woods, 43rd Avenue and Ferdinand Street. I was told they've been around for a long time and originated with a bird (or two) flying out of someone's open window.

And thanks to Christopher Driggins of Northwest Bird Rescue and Adoption for this link to his blog updating the status, with photographs, of the Yacolt Quaker parrots.



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Darth Cheney Confesses to a Felony

According to Scott Horton of Harper's Magazine, Dick (Darth) Cheney confessed to being a Felon as well as a War Criminal, in an interview with ABC New's Jonathan Karl. Basically he's flipping off the American people and daring anyone to do anything about his criminality!

You can see Darth Cheney's admission to being a War Criminal for yourself:


By the way, The New York Times in an editorial December 17, 2008, calls for a Torture Prosecutor. But why stop with the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales? Their actions were clearly authorized by the top two War Criminals in the White House, Darth Cheney and George Dubya! If anyone deserves prosecution by the International War Crimes Tribunal, those two certainly do!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Isn't It Great That Americans Love Life So Much. . .

So much that America has managed to kill off more that one million (1,000,000+) Iraqis! According to Project Censored, the Iraqi body count directly attributable to American hands as of August 2007 (MORE THAN ONE YEAR AGO) has reached anywhere from 1,033,000 Iraqis dead to possibly 1,120,000, depending upon the margin of error.

Isn't it great we live in a fine CHRISTIAN country like the United States of America, where human life is so treasured? As long as it's not Iraqi life, I guess. I mean, what, they're just a bunch of brown skinned camel drivers. Right? Whose oil is it anyway?

For a tally of military casualties, go to Iraqi Coalition Casualty Count, sponsored by icasualties.org.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Turn! My Turn!

I've got some steel-toed work boots I'd love to throw at that War Criminal!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Of Parrots and Prozac

This sad article is posted on today's (December 10, 2008) United Kingdom Daily Mail Online about prozac prescribed parrots.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Karl: Please Add My Name to the List!

Karl Rove plans to name names of Bush enemies in new book.

From the Austin-American Statesman
December 7, 2008

On a sofa on the second floor of the comfortable Washington home that George W. Bush's career helped put him in, Karl Rove reflects on an administration that didn't turn out as anticipated. "No. It all turns out different," he said. Not bad, he insists, just different. "We were all smarter before we showed up here." Yes, mistakes were made by the administration, Rove acknowledges, teasingly referencing his work-in-progress book for the list.

Also reserved for between the covers of Rove's book is his checklist of the "great many of the political actors in this town (who) never accepted [Bush] as a legitimate president." "I've got behind-the-scenes episodes that are going to show how unreceiving they were of this man as president of the United States," Rove said, adding: "I'm going to name names and show examples."

So Karl, please add my name to the list!

George Dubya Bush is a War-Mongering Scum-Sucking Alcoholic Lying Deceiving Manipulative Murdering War Criminal!

Is that clear enough for you? I'll even spell it out for you so you get it right:

MICHAEL OSTROGORSKY

Our Flock: The Diva, Roxanne


Roxanne is clearly an enlightened being in the Hindu sense! One can see her intelligence in her eyes! She exudes a presence that is just not found in other birds. Roxanne is our first bird, and we only intended to get the one! Roxanne is a DNA sexed female Greenwing Macaw (Ara chloroptera). We acquired her because of a divorce, a remarriage, and a move out-of-state by her original owner.

Weighing just shy of two and one-half pounds, Roxanne was hatched November 1997. She was named after the song by The Police, Roxanne, still one of her favorite songs. In fact, not only does Roxanne boast an extensive vocabulary, she has developed a terrific singing voice.

Roxanne epitomzes the Diva! The world revolves around Roxanne! We acquired her at two and one-half years, but she grew up with a couple of blue-eyed blond girls, and that's what she thinks she is. She loves children and being around children, especially blue-eyed blonds. The play area at our neighborhood park is one of her favorite hangouts. If Roxanne is in a crowd of admirers, she automatically gravitates towards any blue-eyed blond girls in the crowd.

Roxanne is one smart bird (excuse me, child)! As mentioned, she has developed an extensive vocabulary and her enunciation of words is superb! She loves to hang out on her backyard stands and talk with the kids in the neighboring yard, or visit with her crow friends. The local crows are fascinated by her. In fact, she even taught one of the crows to say Hello!

Being a Diva can be tough for a bird though, especially if she doesn't think she's a bird! Roxanne is our only flightless bird, even though we do not clip her wings. She barbers her own feathers, and seems to go through phases of feather picking. The condition seems to have started when we got our third bird, Tara, the Hyacinth macaw. Our second bird is Bubba Boy, a Blue and Gold macaw. Although attractive, a Blue and Gold macaw is no competition for a Greenwing macaw in perfect feather. Roxanne has the additional advantage of having rare scalloped feathers (about one in ten among Greenwing macaws). Even with Bubba around, Roxanne continued to be the center of attention wherever she went. The problem started with Tara. Suddenly people would walk right past Roxanne to admire Tara, and this was devastating to Roxanne. As it would be to any self-respecting Diva! Her confidence was shaken. As we've added more birds to the flock, it seems she's become more self-assured. Although she's still flightless, she doesn't attack her feathers as severely as before. As our veterinarian told us, it's better to have a bird that is a feather picker than a feather plucker!

Given a choice, Roxanne is our one bird (not seeing herself as a bird, of course) which would prefer to be an only child, and not a member of any flock.

The Republican National Committee Spends Nearly $200,000 to Prettify Sarah Palin

According to Politico, the Republican National Committee spent nearly $200,000 in beautification costs on Sarah Palin, and still counting! For an up to the minute total just click here for the 236.com Sarah Palin Cost Calculator! Like Barack Obama said, you can put lipstick on a pig, but she's still a pig!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Religion Makes People Stupid!

Over ONE-HALF MILLION jobs were lost during the month of November alone, and so what are we getting our undies in a bunch about now? Why, an atheist sign posted at the Washington State Capitol Building by the Freedom From Religion Foundation!

Personally I believe that Christmas has come to epitomize the pagan holiday of yore that it replaced. I mean, just look at the Victoria Secret Christmas commercials on television, for chrissakes! Not to mention the Walmart employee trampled to death for the sake of a few cheap trinkets! Any semblance of Christian spirituality with the holiday has long been lost.

Personally I believe with Mark Twain as expressed in his infamous Letters From the Earth, that he would not worship any god despicable enough to allow the violence and brutality common to the world, nor any god powerless to stop the same!

Whoa! In Memoriam: Corky (1995 -- 2006)


Corky was a feisty little guy, a Congo African grey (Psittacus erithacus)that was a rescue from a really deplorable living condition! He came to us with acute arteriosclerosis thanks to being raised on a diet of breakfast sausage and toast. He never fledged, so he was unable to fly. He loved rides in the car, probably because of being flightless. He would follow us around the house and patiently sit on the floor at our feet. He would chase our Goffin's cockatoo, Kid Cadra, whenever he could; unfortunately for Corky the Goffin's had the advantage of flight! He loved to cuddle under the bed sheets and watch television prior to going to bed. But every once in a while the little cuss would give us a nip, just because. He carried on many a conversation intelligible only to himself, but his two favorite phrases were: Whoa! and Don't Break That Door! He suffered acute cardiac and respiratory arrest on March 4, 2006. Fortunately for all concerned, we were just putting him to bed at the time the event occurred and we rushed him to the animal hospital, to no avail. We were able to hold and cuddle him in his final moments, and I still find it hard to type these words!

I know that Corky has gone on to birdie paradise. The night after he died he came back to me in a dream and gave me one last farewell Whoa!

Our Flock: Princess Tara


A DNA sexed female, Princess Tara is a three and one-half pound Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) the offspring of Duke and Duchess. Princess Tara was hatched in June of 1999. She is the quintessential zen parrot, for her love of yoga, bells, and music. She wants to be a Salvation Army bell ringer when she grows up, and believe me, she can keep time with those bells! A lady of few words, she does say the sultriest Hello you will ever hear! She can be a bit of a bully with her size and weight, but she's also the classic Hyacinth cuddle bear. The Hyacinth macaw beak can be pretty intimidating! One-third of a Hyacinth macaw's muscle mass is in its head, so she has the equipment. Tara also loves bouncing and wrestling. The story of the ugly duckling comes to mind with Tara, the tomboy who doesn't realize just how exceptionally beautiful she is!